Basic Mead Making

Bee Health January 15, 2010 Print Friendly and PDF
  • The methods described here are illustrated in the following University of Minnesota Instructional Poster "Basic Mead Making" Download a .pdf here.

This is one method. There are many methods and recipies for mead making.


For a 1 Gallon batch:

3 pounds honey, 1 Pkg. Yeast, Fermaid K, 3 quarts water

For a 5 Gallon batch:

15 pounds honey, 2 Pkg. Yeast, Fermaid K, 4 gallons water

Typical batch sizes are 1 or 5 gallon. Obtain glass carboys to hold the size of the batch you want to make. In the following descriptions the 1 gallon amounts will be given in text and the 5 gallon amounts will be in [ ].

1. First gather equipment: 2-Carboys, vapor lock & cork, siphon hose, racking cane with bottom cap, sauce pan, candy thermometer, funnel, ladle, bottles and labels.

Ingredients: Honey, yeast, Fermaid K.

2. Honey and yeast are the two main things that effect the taste of your mead. Try different varieties of honeys as well as different yeast. Wildflower honey with Cote des Blancs yeast is a good start.

3. Sterilize all equipment before use. Use a sterilizing agent from a wine supply store or household bleach. Follow directions on product. If water is not sterile, boil first then cool. Do not use distilled water.

4.Stir 3# [15#] of honey with 2 cups [2 quarts] water in sauce pan and heat to 160ºF. Remove from heat and let cool for 15 minutes. Put 1 quart [1 gallon] cool water in carboy.

5. Pour honey & water mixture slowly into the carboy. Add cold water to bring level to 1 gallon [5 gallons].

6. Put 1 or 2 teaspoons of water in the vapor lock and put it on the carboy and wait until temperature falls below 80ºF.

7. Add Fermaid K (or combination of yeast energizer and yeast nutrient) according to package directions. Shake vigorously then put vapor lock back on.

8. Prepare yeast. Have 1/4 cup of water at 100-105ºF. Sprinkle yeast on top and let set undisturbed for 15 minutes. Then stir. For best results when using more than 1 package, do them separately.

9. Pitch the yeast. Remove the vapor lock and pour the prepared yeast into the carboy. Replace the vapor lock.

10. Put the carboy in a safe place (where it won’t get broken) at cool room temp 60ºF - 75ºF). Within 48 hours there will be bubbles coming from the vapor lock. This means the yeast is working.

11. When bubbling stops and sediment appears on the bottom (1-3 months) you should rack the mead. This is the process of siphoning the mead off the top into a clean carboy leaving the sediment behind.

12. Place the full carboy on the counter. Place the empty sterile carboy on a chair. Sterilize siphon tube and racking cane and fill with water. Hold finger over the end of tube, place cane in full carboy (bottom cap should hold it off the bottom), place end of tube over a glass and release. When water is out of tube and mead reaches the end place the tube into empty carboy. Lift cane to stop flow when sediment begins to enter. Put vapor lock into new carboy and return to safe place. When sediment appears again (2 weeks) rack the mead again. Continue this until no more sediment appears. Rack one more time into carboy then in 2 weeks you can rack into bottles and label.

13. When sediment appears again (2 weeks) rack the mead again. Continue this until no more sediment appears. Rack one more time into carboy then in 2 weeks you can rack into bottles and label.

University of Minnesota Instructional Poster #158, Gary S. Reuter and Marla Spivak, Department of Entomology

Download the original Basic Mead Making.pdf here.

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.